E3 2014 concluded its Monday of press conferences and reveals with Sony’s conference, and the PlayStation family proved to deliver with new games and plenty of familiar titles alike.
While attending this week’s E3 2014, the DualShockers staff breaks down the Sony conference to see what the company has to offer on PS4, PS3, and PS Vita in the next year:
Tony Polanco (Staff Writer)
Coming off the heels of their highly successful presentation from last year, Sony’s E3 showing this time was a bit of a mixed bag. While it was a solid show, full of great game footage and humor, it did have certain sections which slowed down the proceedings.
This show had a bit of a split personality. One half was playful while the other was business. The business side was the one that dragged things down for me. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t care less about sales numbers or other stats. The audience felt this way too and you could feel the life being sucked out of the room when this happened.
While the business talk was dull, what I remember most was the cool stuff that was shown. I really liked the part where they focused on fan letters. This was a fun way for them to show footage for games like LittleBigPlanet 3 and Dead Island 2. The highlight here was for the remake of Grim Fandango which was hilariously introduced via a “little girl’s” letter. This girl, who was both 12 years old at the beginning of the letter and 10 years old by the end of it, was none other than Tim Schafer.
Indie games had a strong showing again this year. Sony has been extremely supportive of these games so it was no surprise to see them get featured so prominently. Devolver had a lot of titles on deck such as Broforce and Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. Entwined was a mini show stopper for me seeing as how this beautiful looking game pretty much came out of nowhere. My personal favorite indie game shown was No Man’s Sky which has the makings of being a great sci-fi game.
As far as third party AAA games went, I liked what was shown for Destiny, Mortal Kombat X, Far Cry 4, and Batman: Arkham Knight. Far Cry 4 had war elephants and Batman had a Batmobile that could strafe. You can’t top that. The biggest game of this lot was Grand Theft Auto V which is now (officially) PS4 bound. Personality speaking, the fact that I can transfer my GTA Online data from the PS3 to the PS4 was the best news of all.
Besides LBP3, the big first party games were The Order 1886 and of course, Uncharted 4 which has the title of A Thief’s End. The Order had some sweet gameplay of the main character going toe to claw against a monster. This game is always impressive and I really liked this footage. Uncharted 4 had no gameplay to speak of but I can assume that what we saw was in-game footage. The game gave me the impression that this would be the last Uncharted game given the air of finality in the trailer and of the title.
There was some talk about Project Morpheus. To be honest, I thought that it would have gotten more stage time but it was quickly glossed over. This is a bit odd considering that this technology must have cost Sony a lot of money to produce. I wasn’t complaining about the lack of Project Morpheus news though seeing as how VR technology is neat gimmick at best to me.
PlayStation TV and PlayStation now will be the means by which the PS4 will have backwards compatibility. To be honest, I failed to see the difference between the two services at least in terms of what they ultimately provide.
As for non gaming news we learned that the Powers TV series would be coming exclusively to the PlayStation Network. Powers is one of my favorite comic books so I got excited when this was announced. I got even more excited when comic book writer/Powers creator Brian Michael Bendis came on stage to talk about the series. Seeing Bendis at E3 was a very surreal experience for me since I’m a huge fan of his.
I know that some were disappointed with Sony’s conference this year. There was a lot of non-gaming talk and games like The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III were MIA. I can understand why some felt this way but I think the good outweighed the bad and I left that conference pleased.
Ryan Meitzler (Staff Writer)
While competing against the likes of Microsoft, Ubisoft, and EA during this week’s E3 between the press conferences, it’s safe to describe that Sony’s was (suitably) the “biggest.” Set in the LA Memorial Sports Arena, Sony’s presentation was filled to the brim with announcements during its two hours, and while not every reveal or demonstration shown landed successfully, out of all the press conferences it definitely felt the most substantial.
Out of sheer content, Sony’s conference had the most to announce, and it landed across every scope of the company’s systems and platforms. They had plenty of new game announcements, on-stage demonstrations, showing their services like PlayStation Now and PSN updates, and the reveal of what’s to come through the Western release of PlayStation TV and exclusive new features for PS+ subscribers.
Sony’s presentation was neatly divided into three distinct sections between a section of gaming, business, and ending with everything else: let’s start with the first section.
After debuting the show with an in-depth look at Destiny, Sony opened the floodgates with a look at games across the spectrum of PlayStation: we saw reveals for new titles like Bloodborne (formerly From Software’s Project Beast), Suda 51’s Let It Die, Entwined (now released on PSN), the surprise reveal of LittleBigPlanet 3, and the fun debut of Dead Island 2. Likewise, the first part of the presentation also gave us looks at plenty of the titles we have already known, but in a more in-depth sense: we saw the terrors waiting in titles like The Order: 1886, the high energy indie spirit in games from Devolver Digital like Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number and Broforce, and Hello Games’ procedurally-generated space exploration game No Man’s Sky.
The first part of the presentation was easily the highlight of the show for me – it was fun, engaging, and had more than a share of laughs and applause alike, as Sony revealed these games and had more than a share of great surprises (like the newly-announced Grim Fandango remake) in a true “E3” fashion.
Afterwards, the conference, while filled with plenty of great announcements, was noticeably uneven in its overall presentation and flow. Following the quick pace of the first section with the debut of several new games and presentations of some familiar ones, Sony execs like Andrew House and others came on stage to talk business, amidst some new reveals and surprises like the announcement of the Western release for PlayStation TV, new original TV series like the comic adaptation Powers heading to PSN, and more details on PlayStation Now.
While informational and a good way to gage Sony’s success after a stellar year with the PS4 launch, at times the second portion of the conference did dip into some of the same issues that Microsoft experienced last year – surprisingly, it was the complete switch from Microsoft’s “games-only” approach at this year’s conference. With the second section of the presentation taking up new details on PlayStation Now functionality with Sony Bravia TVs and a large block devoted to the reveal of Powers, a new original TV series adaptation of the Brian Michael Bendis comic series, it was exciting but teetered at points into a lack of focus on what’s important: the games.
Thankfully, the final part of the presentation kicked things back in with looks at mostly familiar titles, but with great presentation and excitement. Sony’s presentation gave us a big look at Batman: Arkham Knight in a demo that filled the room with lots of excitement (and plenty of fake smoke), Far Cry 4 wowed with gliding, mountain climbing, and elephants destroying trucks, and lifted the lid on next-gen versions of Grand Theft Auto V and The Last of Us: Remastered coming this fall.
Ending on a high note with the fantastic teaser for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and the reveal of its 2015 debut, Sony’s presentation was certainly the biggest in terms of announcements, content, and what they had to show. Paving the way through this year (and next year) with lots of exclusives, plenty of third-party exclusive partnerships, and notable enhancements to PSN, PS+, and their other services, Sony’s E3 conference wasn’t necessarily the smoothest ride with a few bumps along the way, but the road that they showed at the event was certainly one of the clearest paths.